Screen Savor: "A Very Sordid Wedding" of Love and Hate

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Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan, Rue McClanahan (pictured), Dale Dickey, Ann Walker (photo credit: Steven K. Johnson)

 

Written and directed by Del Shores, “A Very Sordid Wedding” (The Film Collaborative), the sequel to 2000’s hit gay comedy “Sordid Lives,” picks up 17 years after the comedically catastrophic events of the first film. How comedically catastrophic, you ask? An elderly woman having an affair with a married double amputee, trips over his prosthetic legs and dies from hitting her head on the sink in the bathroom of a sleazy motel. How’s that?

Armed with their bibles and blush-inducing antics, these flaky family members and friends say and do the darnedest things to each other and anybody within earshot. It’s almost as if they think that they can say anything they’d like, as long as they couch it in their twisted version of godliness.

Jimmy Ray (Tony-winning gay actor Levi Kreis) is the new (and hot) preacher in town, and he’s bent on reclaiming the rainbow from the gays and making tiny Winters, Texas a sanctuary city for biblical marriage. His army of less-than-Christian soldiers includes Mrs. Barnes (Sharon Garrison), who is his aunt, and unpleasant convenience store operator Vera (Lorna Scott), and they’re hosting an “Anti-Equality Revival” at the church.

Hotness aside, Jimmy Ray’s plan doesn’t sit right with divorced and tightly-wound Latrelle (Bonnie Bedelia), mother of gay son Ty (Kirk Geiger). Her protective motherly hackles are raised especially high when she learns that not only are Ty and his husband Kyle (T. Ashanti Mozelle) about to become fathers to twins via their surrogate, but they may also be moving to nearby Dallas.

The increased homophobic visibility is also upsetting to Latrelle’s sassy and brassy redheaded sister LaVonda (Ann Walker), as well as Aunt Sissy (Dale Dickey, replacing Beth Grant). They are both loving and supporting family to Ty, even when his mother has occasion not to be.

The gay gene runs far and deep in the family, particularly when it comes to Ty’s Tammy Wynette impersonating uncle Earl (Leslie Jordan), also known as Brother Boy. Tired of living in dead-end Longview and being pushed around by Marty (Alec Mapa) at the drag bar where he performs, Earl soon finds himself on the lam, and cuddling up, with tattooed escaped serial killer Billy Joe (Emerson Collins). It’s through Billy Joe’s encouragement that Earl finds the strength to perform in a Dallas drag competition. While there, he runs into Ty and Kyle, who bring him back to Winters because they think it’s time for a family reunion.

Everyone involved, including Caroline Rhea (replacing Delta Burke) as naughty neighbor Noleta, seems to be having fun saying the campy and kooky things Shores has put in the script. There’s even some preaching, some tears, some reconciliation, and, of course, a (double!) wedding. But there’s something missing, and it’s more than Olivia Newton-John as country diva Bitsy Mae. Time hasn’t been kind to these characters. Perhaps Shores shouldn’t wait so long to give us the next Sordid installment. Rating: C+

 


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